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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Don't tell her when she's gonna die

My friend Nancy has been fighting terminal pancreatic cancer for more than a year. She's had the requisite rounds of chemo that weakened her tremendously. She lost a ton of weight and often her blood count wasn't good enough for her to undergo chemo.

I started visiting her once a week about a half-year ago. During that time, her doctor gave her a timeline for her life that would have had her dying this July 2011. July is two days away.

A place to bust open the world

Today Chucky & Elana, my "adopted" grandchilden, used their very own library cards for the very first time. They kept repeating the question: "Everything in the library is FREE?" I thought they might be blasé about the experience, but their excitement level kept growing.

I helped them sign up for the summer reading program, which I thought was a bit cumbersome and kind of odd this year. But they're INTO IT. They got a "passport" where each page features a different continent. They have to complete squares on each page to earn a prize. Today we completed squares with questions about South America. Both kids won a whistle (sounded like wounded water buffalo) and a free ticket. Elana chose a free zoo pass and Chucky chose a free pass to a bull-riding show. Won't his dad be thrilled to learn he's supposed to take his son there?!?

Chucky gobbled up books as if they were candy. Subjects: dinosaurs, rocks & minerals, "Star Wars," and tornadoes. I never knew he loved science. The librarian helped Elana find a mystery chapter book. Both kids were ELATED.

When I was nine like Elana, my library was the City of Milwaukee BOOKMOBILE. I can still feel the feeling I got when I stepped inside its rarefied atmosphere. I can see the books on the shelves. I can remember the tingle when I looked at the spines of the adult books, which I was NOT allowed to check out. It was the beginning of an adventure that opened worlds to me.

May the adventure live on.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Sixtieth, Marlyce & Jerry!

My Uncle Jerry and Aunt Marlyce on their 60th wedding anniversary
Saturday night Mike & I attended a sixtieth wedding anniversary party for my aunt and uncle, Marlyce & Jerry Hoerig. The party began with a Mass at which they were recognized by the priest, along with another couple celebrating (only) fifty years. During the Mass I sat behind my aunt and uncle, and at one point I noticed my cousin Linda, their daughter, gently stroking her mother's back.

I felt a pang. I haven't been able to give my mom a touch or  hug or even a glance for 33 years. She died at age 48, along with my dad and brother, in a car accident. Jerry & Marlyce were great friends with my folks. After Mass, at the party, Marlyce told me that she had started to tear up at Mass thinking about my folks. She said that Linda told her those were "happy tears."

They weren't. I had them, too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"The Help" - Anachronisms??

I enjoyed reading "The Help." However, being an old broad, I noticed some anachronisms.  At least I THINK they're anachronisms for the years 1962 - 1964:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life Will Out

Image of a baby bird from the Web
Last night Mike was mowing the grass & there was a baby bird sitting there. Mike mowed around the bird. This morning, the bird was still there: a baby robin, round like a little ball. I picked it up & put it in an old nest I keep on the front porch. The bird was lively, but had only one eye & a beak that didn't close properly. Some of its pin feathers were missing. I figured it was a goner. I left the bird in the nest on the front porch & soon there were several full-grown robins responding to its tweets. They were shook up. One finally dug a worm & deposited it in the baby bird's wide-open mouth.

I called my neighbor kids & explained the situation. No hope for this bird. Did they want to care for it anyway or should I euthanize the little thing? Katrina, 14, decided to care for it.

An hour later, my friend Sandy called me. She's been struggling for years with 2 different types of cancers & has been laid low recently by one that revisited, & the surgery that followed. She told me she biked to Holy Hill early this morning, through fog. "It's only 20 miles there," she said. "It was a beautiful ride."

The baby bird & my friend made it clear what I should do. I got on my bike, even though it was raining.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Luddite no more

In June of 2011, I joined the 21st Century. I published a book on Kindle and I started a blog. I think this means I can no longer be considered a Luddite.

In the early 1800s, a band of English workmen organized themselves in order to destroy manufacturing machinery under the belief that its use diminished employment. Ned Ludd, a Leicestershire worker, originated this idea.

I got those Luddite facts from my fat, hardcover Random House dictionary, published in 1967. It has an old-paper smell. I didn't get those facts from Wikipedia, although I could have. I like the handiness of Wikipedia, even though you can't trust it completely, and it will  never have an old-paper smell.

I plan to start a Twitter account as soon as possible. This is a lot of un-Luddite activity for a non-techno-person like me. I'm starting to shake just a little.